I'll finally be able to think for myself. That was the thought running threw SpongeBob's head as he looked at himself threw the mirror.

What does set A Christmas Story Live ! apart from its predecessors is that it’s the first of these live musicals that’s explicitly holiday-themed (well, technically The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again was timed to Halloween but the less said about that the better). And little Christmas charm goes a long way towards papering over the show’s many glaring weaknesses. Plus there were at least a handful of moments of heart within the show that did land powerfully, especially Mother’s sweet ballad “Just Like That” and Ralphie and Randy’s duet “Before The Old Man Comes Home.”

If I’m being totally honest, the appeal of A Christmas Story has always been a bit lost on me. There’s just not much depth to the story of Ralpie’s childhood desire for a gun-filled Christmas, but maybe that’s the point. A Christmas Story isn’t meant to challenge, it’s meant to comfort. And as reheated holiday leftovers, A Christmas Story Live! just about hits the spot.

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